Kodiak rocket launch succeeds despite engine loss

Rocket 3.3 getting ready to launch at Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak. Photo courtesy of Astra

By Roman Quemado
For The Cordova Times

On Aug. 28, Astra Space Inc. conducted a test launch of their rocket Rocket 3.3 – LV0006. The launch took place at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak.

The mission was called STP-27AD1. It was Astra’s first test launch for the Department of Defense as part of the Space Test Program. This was Astra’s third attempt at reaching the Earth’s orbit.

Rocket 3.3 was able to ignite all five of its engines. Unfortunately, it lost one of its engines less than a second into flight. Because of the engine failure, the vehicle slowly lifted off the launch pad. Luckly, the rocket’s four remaining engines were able to keep the vehicle upright.

The rocket continued to move sideways before starting its ascent. The team at Astra got approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds of flight data. It reached an altitude of about 31 miles before all the engines shut down due to the inability of the rocket to fly. LV0006 continued to fall before safely landing in the ocean.

“We regret that we were unable to accomplish all mission objectives for the U.S Space Force; however, we captured a tremendous amount of data from this test flight,” said Chris Kemp, founder and CEO of Astra in a video blog post. “We will incorporate learnings from this test into future launches, including LV0007, which is currently in production.”

Astra plans to launch later this year with their second mission, STP-27AD2.